June 30, 2006

Archdiocesan purchasing director attends Archbishop Wuerl’s installation

By Sean Gallagher

Even though they have worked together for 10 years, Steve James didn’t expect Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl to stop and talk to him on one of the most important days in the archbishop’s life.

“It was pretty exciting,” said James, director of the Office of Purchasing for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. “You’re in a crowd with 2,500 people and here he sees you and comes over.”

The exchange happened on June 22 as worshippers were entering the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., where Archbishop Wuerl was installed during a Mass as the new leader of the Archdiocese of Washington.

James was invited to the liturgy because of his leadership role in Catholic Purchasing Services (CPS).

Since 1989, Archbishop Wuerl has served as the episcopal advisor to the not-for-profit organization that serves the Catholic Church in the United States in its purchasing needs.

On May 1, James was elected to a three-year term as the chairman of the board of CPS during its annual membership meeting at Longboat Key, Fla.

Just a few weeks later, the bishop was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to one of the most visible positions of Church leadership in the United States.

As then Archbishop-elect Wuerl was making his way through the basilica before the installation Mass began, he saw James and stopped to speak to him.

James said that a crowd of photographers soon descended upon them, taking photos of their conversation and later asking James for his name.

Being present for Archbishop Wuerl’s installation was a moment of satisfaction for James.

“It was very exciting to see that, knowing him for 10 years,” James said. “He fits the role very well. He’s a very visible person, very active out in his parishes and schools.”

Having known him for a decade, James is confident that the faithful of the nation’s capital will be served well by Archbishop Wuerl.

“He’s very personable, very easy to work with,” James said. “I like him. I think [people in] Washington will like him, too.” †


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